Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Just as Brewster Academy tipped off Saturday in the National Prep Showcase at Albertus Magnus College, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin walked into the gym.
The Johnnies remain in the hunt for the 6-foot-8 Sampson even though he decommitted and re-opened his recruitment.
“St. John’s is still in the mix,” Sampson told SNY.tv before putting up 20 points and 7 rebounds in Brewster’s 91-75 win over Fishburne (Va.).
What would it take for him to re-commit to the Johnnies?
“Just show the support and love that they have been showing me, you know?” he said.
Brewster coach Jason Smith told SNY.tv. Baylor, Florida, Providence, Pitt and Kansas have all been into the school within the last two weeks. Sampson also listed Louisville among schools of interest.
“He won’t decide until after the Final Four,” Smith said.
“I’m taking it nice and slow right now,” Sampson added.
Sampson was one of three St. John’s commits declared academically ineligible in September. 6-7 Amir Garrett, who’s also playing here, expects to be on campus in December, while 6-10 Norvel Pelle decommitted.
“It was tough,” Sampson said. “I was so bummed because I was ready to play college basketball. I got to know the guys real well and I was pumped to play. But going back to my Brewster family is a lot easier than having to go to a whole different school.”
Still, Sampson remains in touch with Garrett and Pelle.
“All the time,” he said. “I formed a bond with them, dealing with them over the summer with school and classes and stuff. I formed a nice bond with them.”
A long, athletic slasher, Sampson said he wants to “improve his range” and “my all-arond game.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.